Industry Minister Tony Clement has dismissed growing calls for him to reverse his decision to scrap the mandatory long-form census, saying he and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are on the same page on the issue.
"There's not a micron of difference of opinion between myself and the prime minister on this," Clement told the CBC's Rosemary Barton in an interview on Power & Politics with Evan Solomon.
During the interview from London, Clement said the government has taken a "compromise position" between privacy concerns and ensuring usable data from the next census in May 2011. Clement's comments came a day after Munir Sheikh, the head of Statistics Canada, the national statistical agency, resigned in protest over the move to scrap the mandatory survey.
The Conservatives have been on the defensive since Clement announced at the end of June that the long-form part of the 2011 census would no longer be mandatory because of privacy concerns. Canadians who receive the long form would be able to refuse to fill it out.
The furor escalated after Sheikh cancelled a planned town hall meeting with Statistics Canada staff, then announced Wednesday evening on the agency's website he was resigning over the issue.
In his statement, Sheikh insisted a voluntary survey cannot be a substitute for the mandatory form.I'm philosophically opposed to pandering to our tin-foil party fringes. And that is all this seems to be about. Considering how well things have gone south of the border with that strategy.